Joseph B. Messick, a rancher of Douglass
Township, was born in Delaware, February 28, 1820, a son of George and Mary
(Carey) Messick, both members of the Society of Friends.
The mother, a native of Delaware, died young, in 1824, having borne six
children. The father a native of
Philadelphia, died in 1838, aged fifty-two.
J. B. Messick received a
fair education in his youth and learned the trade of cabinet and wood turner.
Traveling west in the exercise of his craft, he was married in Indiana,
May, 22, 1842, to Miss Elizabeth Cole, a native of New York, born July 8, 1824,
a daughter of Calvin and Lavina (Slocum) Cole, who moved to Shelby County,
Indiana, in the spring of 1825. The
father died about 1855, aged sixty-two, and the mother, a native of Vermont,
died in 1858, aged sixty-nine. Grandmother Prudence (Hard) Cole, of Welsh descent, lived to be eighty-four.
The Slocums are American for several generations.
In 1850, J. B. Messick
crossed the plains, entering the mines at Ringgold, Placer County, on August 21. He worked a short time for low wages. September 18, with a comrade of his journey across the plains
and another partner, he bought a claim, and they had the good fortune to gather
in $225 each in five days. Having
previously been able to make living wages, they came to Stockton.
While Mr. Messick went to work for Andrew Wolf at $200 a month, his
partners went to Sonora on a prospecting tour.
They concluded to go into the manufacture of miners’ tools in Sonora,
and Messick bought the lumber and iron on credit.
After one month he followed his partners to Sonora City, in November.
They bought out the third partner in January 17, 1851, and before the
close of the month wound up the business. They
tried mining again until May, making $5 a day each.
Mr. Messick remained in Sonora five years, and was sometimes interested
in mining claims, but that was the extent of his personal experiences in mining.
He then went into the manufacture of “long-toms” and rockers.
In 1852 he engaged in sash, door and blind business, just in time to loss
$8,000 by the fire in June of that year. The
town was again swept away by fire in November 1853.
Working at various jobs another year, he came down into this township in
October, 1855 and took a quarter section of land.
He went into cattle-raising, having at one time 200 head.
He also kept a hotel, and his place being on the Camp Seco road, he made
money for four or five years, until the travel died down.
He has given accommodations to as many as eighteen teams on a single
night on this road. He then went
into dairying, milking twenty-eight cows, and through all changes did some
general farming, which is the only thing which abides with him.
His farm is reduced by adverse claims to eighty-five acres, of which
three are in orchard, on the bank of the Calaveras.
Mr. and Mrs. Messick are the parents of four living children.
born in Indiana, December 2, 1843, now a machinist, living in Calaveras County,
has nine children; Lavina Jane, born January 10, 1847, now Mrs. Charles
of Modesto, the mother of four children; Octavia V., born February 25, 1849, now
Mrs. John Gilman, of Lockeford, mother of seven children; and Chester
December 17, 1850, married to Rachel White, and father of three children.
Source: An Illustrated History of San Joaquin County, California,
page 25, Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1890
containing 661 pgs.
From the earliest period of its occupancy to the present time, together
with glimpses of its future prospects, with full-page portraits of some of its
most eminent men, and biographical mention of many of its pioneers and also of
prominent citizens of to-day.
Summarized by Lorraine Llewellyn
Researching Cole and Messick Surnames
Paid Membership Web Site
The above was extracted from the biography found on this